Bitcoin’s Boom, Bubble and Bust Breakdown: How the Top Crypto Asset’s First Decade in the Game Went?
With the 10th anniversary of the first Bitcoin transaction looming just around the corner, the global effects and the cryptocurrencies that have been created since are still a part of a market teeming with uncertainty.
Creator of the Bitcoin, Satoshi Nakamoto, sent 10 of his creation to US software engineer, Hal Finney (some believe that the two are actually the same person). Then worthless, two years would pass before the first purchase via bitcoin was made in Jacksonville, Florida by Laszlo Hanyecz for a couple of pizzas at the now laughable price of 10,000 BTC (that price had skyrocketed 900% when it rose in worth per coin from $.008 to $.08. Some believe that Satoshi Nakamoto is the same person as Hal Finney).
The financial crisis of 2008 saw the resurgence of a lack of trust with governments, central banks, and banking systems, as well as financial institutions and with it, the idea of cryptocurrency was birthed into reality with the invention of the first Bitcoin. With a rallying cry of being anti-establishment, this peer-to-peer digital currency has an impassioned set of true believers (sometimes named anarchists and even argued as peaceful anarchy) who expect it to undermine governments and erase borders the world over.
As a mostly untraceable currency source, it kicked off in the beginning with illegal dealings on the dark web- particularly on the since shut down and infamous Silk Road. This is still a problem the world of cryptocurrency is combating and each new press release on the matter serves as a reason for negative viewings on Bitcoin and other cryptos with the general public.
Combine that with the rise in crypto hacking (a subset of hackers bent solely on hacking into marketplaces that hold cryptocurrencies and personal holders of it to steal coins) and the hacking of major firms and governments that are then held ransom for digital coin, bad press is not in short supply for the emerging market.
2017 saw a soar in digital currency values the world over after it’s concept became mainstream, with Bitcoin rising to a high value of $US19,535 mid-December of that year. BTC became nearly half the value of all cryptocurrencies at a total valuation of $US327 billion.
But this boom saw a steep decline in 2018, the year finishing off at just 20% of its highest value ($US3829) with current trades this year at about 4k, leading some to believe the boom may have only been a bubble ready to bust.
It is thought that 20017 and 2018 points to a theorized flaw in the vision and future of crypto- the lack of an accepted medium of exchange. There are, of course, some exceptions to this; a few digital currency exchange ATMs and scattered retailers (mostly online) that will accept the currency as payment.
Further crippling this mediums attempts at being taken seriously in markets worldwide is its volatility in value. Bitcoin rose 6.4% in 30 minutes just this week, with a single transaction of $10 million being the most likely culprit. These surges and dips in value scare some potential investors and, more importantly, it serves as the leading reason more companies cannot afford to accept the currency as payment.
For this reason, they have earned the name “digital assets” because they are not currently behaving the way a currency would.
With repeated failures at establishing a trading platform by Wall Street investment banks and a volatile market, it has become the playground of hedge funds and retails punters rather than the preferred mainstream digital asset and, for the more extreme believers, an eventual replacement for all physical currency.
The most glaring issue of the ultimate dream is to become mainstream would require regulators for protections and to prevent illegal transactions, ensuring its stability but ending the original intention of staying outside of government control. The irony of becoming popular would be to make it bank-issued and heavy regulated as any physical money is.
The legacy of digital assets so far appears to be in the technology that records their transactions via peer-to-peer review rather than the currency itself. Distributed ledger technology (known as blockchain) has growing applications, with ASX and Australian banks already paving the way for experimentation on the use of blockchain for international transactions and other systems.
Blockchain links all participants with a view of chain of information about each transaction they all make in real-time with a skew of relevancy towards the individual. These distributed ledgers update in real time, recording each transaction and allowing for the verification from its users on what happened when, rather than trusting a third party to tell them.
Within these ledgers exists a potential to save enormous amounts of time and money, rather than using people and expensive programs for extensive record keeping, while entirely eliminating the risk of inaccuracy and it allows equal rights to information between users and the source.
No one knows what the future of cryptocurrency holds, but the code Satoshi Nakamoto wrote for his Bitcoin a decade ago may prove to leave a mark he had not anticipated on technology and especially our world, a code whose applications are just barely being thought of.